Friday, November 11

Lost Friday - Episode 6.

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Season 2 - Episode 6 - "Abandoned."

Another Lost Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss.

First off, due to reader concerns, I'm going to address the spoiler problem by breaking this post into two parts. The first part will be a recap of Episode 6: "Abandoned," and part two will be a preview of the next few episodes, especially Episode 7: "The Other 48 Days." That way, if you don't want to be spoiled, you can stop reading when the first part comes to an end. Deal? Deal.

PART ONE: EPISODE 6 RECAP - "ABANDONED."

As always, here's a quick recap of the episode in question, just to get everyone on the same page:

On the far side of the island, Eko, Jin and Michael re-unite with Ana-Lucia, Sawyer, Bernard, Libby and Cindy. The eight leave for the camp made by the survivors of the midsection of the plane. Along the way, Ana-Lucia demands that Michael be silent; when he demands an explanation, she tells them that The Others took three of the tail section survivors on their first night on the island and returned two weeks later to take nine more.

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Sayid builds a tent for Shannon in which the two make love. When Sayid goes to get some water, Walt suddenly appears in the tent and says "they are coming, they are close." When Shannon screams, Sayid, Charlie and Claire (carrying Aaron) respond but they find no sign of the intruder. Shannon is angry that Sayid thinks she was dreaming; Charlie scolds Claire for waking Aaron and taking him towards something that might have been dangerous.

Locke helps Claire with Aaron, teaching her to swaddle him to comfort him when he cries. Claire tells Locke that everyone seems to know more about parenting than she. She also mentions how Charlie has been carrying around a statue of the Virgin Mary (which, as Locke knows but she doesn't, is full of heroin). Later, Locke and Charlie play backgammon with Locke demonstrating amazing luck. Locke apologizes if he overstepped any lines when assisting Claire. Charlie complains that Claire has been acting irresponsibly; Locke retorts "that's an interesting comment, coming from a heroin addict". Charlie corrects him, saying he's a "recovering addict".

As the survivors from the tail section of the plane trek across the island, Jin and Michael squabble over who's going to help Sawyer. Sawyer pushes them away, takes a few steps and then collapses; when Michael goes to assist him, Sawyer says if their positions were reversed, he'd leave Michael behind, which Michael brushes off. The survivors make a stretcher and carry Sawyer. After an arduous battle to carry him up a hill, they look around and notice that Cindy has vanished. Immediately after, the seven hear whispering coming from all around them.

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In flashbacks, Shannon is shown teaching ballet. She receives a call that her father has been in an accident and goes to the hospital. There, she finds that he has died in a car crash; Jack is seen walking past briefly. Shannon's father is the "Adam Rutherford" struck by the SUV driven by Jack's eventual wife in "Man of Science, Man of Faith". At the funeral, Boone appears to console her. Later, when she wins a dance internship in New York, she finds she can't go because her father left her no money. She pleads with her stepmother, Sabrina, who rebuffs her, suggesting her dream of becoming a dancer is just a passing whim, and that Shannon needs to make her own way. Boone attempts to help, but is unsuccessful in convincing his mother. When Shannon asks if she can stay in New York with him, he tells her that he is leaving the city to take a job working for his mother. He offers her money, but she angrily rejects it, telling him that if he doesn't believe she can make it on her own, she doesn't want his help.

Shannon brings Vincent some of Walt's clothes, then follows as the dog searches for his master. Vincent leads Shannon to Boone's makeshift grave, where she rests for a moment. Sayid finds her and asks what she's doing. She tells him she's going to find Walt and gets up to continue following Vincent; Sayid comes along, protesting. Shannon yells at Sayid, telling him that he (like Boone) doesn't believe in her and is going to abandon her. Sayid tells her that he loves her and will never leave her. The pair embrace, then suddenly hear whispering; the pair look up and see Walt. He is apparently telling them to be quiet, as they are near danger. Shannon dashes after Walt and Sayid follows her until he trips. There is a gunshot and, as Shannon staggers back into view, she is shown bleeding from the torso. The camera pans back to reveal Ana-Lucia with a smoking gun, having seemingly mistaken Shannon for one of the Others and shot her. It is not known at this point whether Shannon lives or dies.

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When this episode concluded, I was amazed. The internet chatter was pretty loud that Shannon would be killed, but it was never stated that we would get to see the killer right away. I couldn't believe that Lost would actually give us an open and shut case like-

Crap. We've been totally and completely duped. Ana Lucia clearly didn't kill Shannon.

First off, we don't even know if Shannon is dead (she probably is, I'm just sayin' is all). Secondly, if we don't see Ana Lucia pull the trigger, then we shouldn't assume anything. You should know this by now.

You want my theory? Sure you do, because it's right. Here goes nothing:

Rousseau is still on a killing spree that started when she waxed her entire "sick" crew. She fears this infection, and has been spying on the Lostaways for quite a while now. The "sickness" has something to do with hearing the voices all around you in the jungle. At the very least, Sayid and Shannon both have it, along with the tail-section crew that heard the whispers as well. This is why Sayid was able to see Walt along with Shannon.

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So, Rousseau knows that Shannon is infected and (supposedly) kills her. THIS is when Ana Lucia and the tailies show up and fire a shot at Rousseau. When we resume this story in episode 8 (after episode 7 next week, which is entirely flashback), we'll see Rousseau with a gunshot wound, mere feet from the carnage. Mark my words. Hey, this was sort of a spoiler. Whoops.

So, that's that. I'm glad we cleared all of that up. As verified here last week, Ana is (or was) a cop. This explains her know-how with a gun, her complete meglomania and aura that makes me want to punch her in the neck. In episode 7 and 8, we'll find out a little more about Ana's past. Crap, that was another spoiler, wasn't it?

So, the even bigger argument online is "good" Walt versus "evil" Walt. Is backwards-talking mirage Walt good or bad?

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Well, consider the following:

PRO: Walt warned Shannon about the button.
CON: Walt got Shannon killed.

PRO: Walt told Shannon and Sayid to be quiet because the others were near.
CON: Again, Walt pretty much lured Shannon to her death.

Take from that what you will, but I'll stay on the fence for now. Keep in mind that a lot of people think that Vincent is somehow involved in all of this. You'll notice that you never see Walt without Vincent close by. Just something to think about as the weeks roll on.

PART TWO: EPISODE 7 PREVIEW - "THE OTHER 48 DAYS."

Oh, and how the weeks will roll on. This is the first of at least 4 straight new episodes this season. This next episode is set to be huge, taking us right back to the start of the show, only through the eyes of the doomed tail-section passengers.

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This episode is important for a few reasons. First off, it's told entirely in flashback, with nobody in particular taking the lead (Ana Lucia's "official" flashback will occur in episode 8, "Collision."). Secondly, if we don't get a good look at some of these "others," at least we'll get to see some of their motives. Perhaps we can get a feel for why they are so feared among the tailies.

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Children play a big role in the episode, mainly because the kids we're going to see are either dead or captured by the others. You'll remember the child dragging the teddy bear a few weeks ago, well that kid was on the plane. Of course, you already knew that, because you're savvy.

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I'm excited to see the backstory of Mr. Eko. This guy rules, and his motives are very secretive and mysterious. I'm also looking forward to seeing how their pasts intertwine with the pasts of the survivors we already know. I'm telling you this right now, Ana Lucia was on that plane for Kate, and when they run into each other in a few weeks, crap is going to hit the fan (hence the title for episode 8, "Collision"). Throw Jack, Sawyer and a dead Shannon into the mix, and you've got yourself enough drama for the rest of the season.

As was the case with the first 3 episodes of the year, "The Other 48 Days" will take place between episodes 6 and 8 with no time passing. This means that when eipsode 8 starts in 2 weeks, we'll pick up right where we left off, with Shannon dying in Sayid's arms.

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I could continue, but then what would I have for you next week? "Abandoned" ruled, and "The Other 48 Days" will be chock-full of insane information to retain. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thanks for checking this out, and don't forget to stop here every Friday for more Lost news. While you're here, go ahead and check out all of my LOST FRIDAY posts. They have a ton of information, they're high in fiber and they won't call you a nerd when you leave the room:

SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION: VOLUME 2
SEASON TWO - RERUN EDITION
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 5 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 4 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 3 REVIEW
SEASON TWO - EPISODE 1 REVIEW
SEASON TWO PREVIEW

Thursday, November 10

CDP Wayback Machine - Sexy Results.

A simply amazing LOST FRIDAY is being assembled and will arrive tomorrow, sharply dressed and pleasant smelling.

Until then, let's all take a trip in the CDP Wayback Machine, for a look at what was going on here one year ago today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - Violence Good! Sex Bad!

Here, we discuss sex and violence, which is always a great topic for Sweeps Month. Coincidentally enough, I recall an incident where I was nearly mugged at gunpoint while in England.

We took Gabe to the vet again today, as he has taken to whizzing blood on the carpet (seriously?). The vet said that this was normal (seriously?), and he should straighten right out in a few days. We bought the cats a third litter box for variety, as was the suggestion of the vet (seriously?). I'm keeping a close eye on him, but I have no idea what I'm looking for.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 9

Support Your Local Cat.

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As promised yesterday, I wanted to give everyone a full update on Gabe. First, the back story.

If you don’t already know, Gabe is one of my two cats. If you’re a newlywed 20-something couple who lives in an apartment, it’s a prerequisite that you pick yourself up a couple of cats. Upon moving to Madison some years ago, that’s exactly what we did.

Gabe is a Blue Point Siamese male. Since we adopted him from the shelter, his exact age is unknown, although we have since figured him to be about 5 years old. When we saw him in the shelter, his ribs were sticking out from his chest and he looked quite underweight. Since then, we have him at an ideal weight for his breed and age.

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He’s an amazing and intelligent feline. He runs down the stairs when you call him, jumping into your lap and purring without fail. He hasn’t bit or scratched a soul, regardless of what awful things we do to him. When the Missus enters the apartment complex after work, he can tell she’s home before I can. He recognizes the jingling of her keys, separating the sound from all of the other jingling keys he hears all day. He’s playful and wildly affectionate, relaxed and Zen, brilliant and resourceful. He’s pretty much the coolest cat I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen thousands.

Gabe is a needy soul. He’ll cry when he’s not around you, simply because he wants to be in your lap. He’s never annoying about it; he just lets you know that he misses you when you’re away. When you come home from work, he’s right at the door to greet you. He’d fetch me my slippers if I wore them. Most people that meet Gabe say the same thing, that he acts more like a dog than a cat. His loyalty rivals that of a Golden Retriever, only he doesn’t need to be walked and can whiz in the house. He doesn’t have an enemy in the world.

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Gabe’s past, however, seems a bit more sordid. Apparently, he was seized from a house that was overrun with cats, which usually means poor health and disease. The fact that he came from a place like this and still maintains his temperament is a sight to behold. It’s as if he’s making a decision every morning to be nice to everyone he meets. Not to mention, he’s a beautiful specimen. He keeps his coat smooth and well-groomed, sometimes spending hours on a rigid cleaning routine. At first glance, he may appear intimidating and stoic, but instantly becomes your new best friend. He has the prettiest eyes I've ever seen on a non-human.

When we brought him home a couple of years ago, we already had a Siamese female in the house. When she initially rejected his company, rather than fight back, he anxiously chewed the fur off of his feet. Make no mistake about it, this is a cat that loves and wishes to be loved. Now, the two of them curl up on the couch together most every night.

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(He looks upset because he has an ass pressed against his ribs.)

Keeping his past and breed in mind, it wasn’t a surprise that Gabe contracted a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). We first noticed it a couple of months ago when we saw that he had taken to whizzing in the Missus’ bathtub. When cats get a UTI, it hurts too much to pee in the litter box, so they try to find a smooth, cool surface, like the tub (I've been known to do this on occasion when the toilet gets too repetitive for me). We were all set to take him to the vet, when he made a full recovery. We considered ourselves lucky, and forgot about the whole thing.

What we didn’t know was that Gabe had kidney-stone like particles in his kidneys and bladder. Just because he passed the stone and got over the first hump didn’t mean that he’d pull it off every time. This reached a head on Monday morning.

The Missus had called in sick on Monday, as she was feeling awful from the weekend. By the time she woke up, Gabe was already howling outside of the bedroom door. When she opened up, a clearly frightened Gabe ran and hid under the bed, which is something that he never does. Missus knew something was wrong, and tried to figure out what was up. Gabe was howling in pain and growling deeply, which was completely new for him. Not really knowing what to do, the Missus called me at work and filled me in. I told her to immediately call the vet and set up an appointment. I skipped out on work for the afternoon and raced home.

When I got there, the Missus was feeling rather helpless and scared, and Gabe was no better. He was still hiding in the bedroom, sitting in such a way that indicated that it was the only position that didn’t hurt him. We stuffed him into the crate and took him straight to the vet.

Gabe was in the vet’s office for no more than 30 seconds when we figured out what was wrong with him. As soon as the vet touched his tummy, he screamed in pain and hid under the chairs. “Your cat can’t pee,” the vet told us.

“This is an emergency situation that requires an immediate decision,” she told us. Cats can literally have their kidneys explode on them, killing them slowly and painfully, and Gabe was verging on this circumstance due to a severe blockage. A surgery needed to be conducted instantly, and the vet left the room to get us forms to sign.

For the few minutes me and the Missus were alone in the room together, we talked it over. Without question, we were going ahead with this operation, regardless of weather it meant we would have to live on cheese sandwiches for the rest of the year. The operation required for them to insert a catheter into Gabe’s bladder, working on removing the stones and allowing him to urinate on his own again. Apart from that, we needed a slew of antibiotics, special food and a lot of hope to make sure that he would be okay.

It should be noted at this point that if the Missus wouldn’t have called in sick that day, we would have come home to a dead cat. No question about it. Take from that what you will; I’m just giving you the facts.

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We signed the papers and left the vet’s office. Several hours of waiting by the phone later, it finally rang. They did what they needed to do to him, the catheter was still inserted and he seemed to be doing as well as he could have. The thing with UTI’s is that the same thing could come back a week later. We’re hoping this doesn’t happen, but it’s very possible, and is another conversation for another time.

When Tuesday rolled around, we finally got a call from the vet’s office at 2:30pm. The catheter was removed; Gabe was urinating on his own and was ready to come home. We picked him up (along with a ton of medicine and food), gave the Sun Prairie Animal Hospital $500 for saving Gabe’s life, and settled him back into the house.

For the next two weeks, we have to force-feed him two different kinds of medication, feed him prescription food and put an ointment in his ears. If you’ve ever owned or been near a cat, you’ll understand why this will be almost certainly impossible, regardless of how nice they are. After two weeks, we’re taking him back in for a follow-up appointment, and scheduling him for a vigorous teeth cleaning. Remember the house overrun with cats that Gabe was rescued from? Apparently, the crazy cat woman didn’t believe in proper dental habits. Two of Gabe’s back teeth needed to be extracted, barely hanging from the sockets to begin with.

Don’t believe me? I saved the teeth.

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Sorry about that; I just wanted to hammer the point home. What you need to know is that Gabe is safe and sound at home again, shaken but recovering. We're all adjusting to the new routine; doing what we can to keep him healthy and happy. We must keep a very watchful eye on him, make sure he gets his meds and comb over his litter box daily, but it’s worth it to have the family together again.
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I’ll keep you posted on his progress.

Tuesday, November 8

Intro-Feedback-Setup-Punchline-Repeat.

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A Lifetime Of Laughs: The Boycott Unity Retrospective.

Immediately following the 2004 Presidential Election, I had what friends and loved-ones would remember as a “freak-out of embarrassing proportions.” The phone was shut off, the CDP went on hiatus and I wore nothing but black to work. I shut the television off; sat down, and thought about all the work I had gone through over the last few months to ensure that what happened… didn’t happen. It was a huge feeling of failure and deflation, like when I got kicked off of the golf team in High School because I was failing Geometry. I sucked and everyone knew it.

Every day felt like I was drowning in thick gravy, and not the good kind that Grandma used to make. Everyone in Madison walked around town like they had just been punched in the gut. I came to the quick conclusion that me and the Missus didn’t have enough money to leave the country for good, so I settled on the next best thing.

I started a political cartoon.

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Boycott Unity was born. If anything, it was a way to cheer myself up, sling some mud and act like I was actually making a difference. I couldn’t draw, and Paint was the only program I was proficient in, so I took pride in the fact that it looked like hell, and just focused on the dialogue.

Boycott Unity centered around 2 main characters. They didn’t have names, and were told apart only by the size of their mouths. The small-mouthed fellow was the self-intelligent liberal. The voice of progress and sarcasm, logic and reason, but always quick to realize his place in the big picture. He knew what was wrong and how to change it, but he normally sunk his energy into things that mattered none to his future. He's a lot like me.

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The larger-mouthed gentleman represented everything that I dislike about the right wing, and everything logical conservatives dislike about the right wing, as well. He talked without thinking, conversed without listening and believed the unbelievable. He was essentially the worst conservative ever; a composite of everything that keeps you from talking to men in suits.

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Without question, these characters were satires of both ends of the spectrum. People like this don’t really exist, although everything they said came from somewhere in reality. It just made sense for me to use two political representatives who really had no business giving their opinion. I think that this cartoon summed this mindset up perfectly.

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Most of the time, Boycott Unity focused on current events and world happenings. Around the time of the strip, the war in Iraq was picking up more steam and critics, and George Bush was re-elected to office. The debate was hot over the concept of pre-emptive strikes.

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Already, people were talking about who would bring the Democrats to glory in 2008.

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For about a week, I had a storyline where our Conservative friend attended the President's inagural ball.

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A lot of strips focused on misconceptions we have concerning opposing political parties. The idea that we like to mash together everything we hate about conservatives or liberals and assume that they all think that way is foolish and irresponsible.

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As was shown in the 2004 elections, Liberals take things for granted, they don’t work hard enough to invoke change and they focus too much of their time on things that make no difference whatsoever. This angers me, mainly because I’m living proof. These strips were mostly about how mad I am at myself, because I’m slacking off on doing something important.

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I wrote this strip shortly after the death of my Grandfather. It cheered up my family as much as it could have.

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Other times, I removed politics entirely from the strip, and just let the characters screw with each other. Every now and again, you had to remember why they enjoyed each other’s company in the first place.

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The song he's singing here is "Mama Said Knock You Out," by LL Cool J. It's funnier when you know that going in.

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Sometimes, things were written directly out of problems I was having in my own little world. Things like work, relationships and family would make their way into a Boycott Unity cartoon.

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Every once in a while, the bad news and mud got so deep I couldn't help but get serious for a second. Well, you know, as serious as a stick figure can get, I suppose.

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This was one of the most commented cartoons I've ever done. It generated a lot of positive feedback, and for that I am proud.

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Well, this one may have actually received more feedback, now that I think about it.

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People always asked me, “why are they friends?” My answer is that they need each other. One can’t exist without the other in the real world, and people often forget that. Everyone needs a counter weight, and everyone needs someone to fight with. Otherwise, the imbalance would destroy them. They knew that they needed each other, and they were willing to accept that.

After about 70 of these little 4-paneled turds, I decided to call it quits. First and foremost, I didn't like doing them anymore. You'd be absolutely amazed at how much work goes into something as simple as this cartoon. Try creating a few of them, and you'll drive yourself insane. You'll try to remember what life was like before you had to make a joke every fourth line of a conversation. I felt like I did what I wanted to do, and it was a good time to knock it off before the strip started to really suck.

Another reason I gave it up was that not a lot of people seemed interested in it. The CDP was getting good traffic, but it was like pulling teeth to get people over to Boycott Unity. I was feeling frustrated, which led to this; one of the last strips I did.

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Looking back one year later, I found myself actually enjoying these; probably a little too much. For some reason, I took a lot of pride in these damn things. Once I pulled the plug on the strip, I removed all of the comics from the interweb permanently (until now, of course). Afterwards, a few people told me that they missed them and wanted to see them again, which made me feel fuzzy.

It's funny how angry I was a year ago. Either that, or it's sad how jaded I am one year later. People get used to their surroundings, and for better or for worse, that has pretty much happened to me. Sure, the news still makes me sick, I refuse to engage in debates anymore and the Fox News Channel needs a severe keelhauling, but I don't feel the need to take it to the streets too much anymore. I haven't given up, I just temporarily forgot what I was fighting for.

I'm not an angry Liberal. I'm not a Conservative hater. I'm a concerned, smart-ass American who can't draw. As you've hopefully noticed, I don't talk politics on the CDP anymore, because it's neither the place nor the time for such discussion. Rather, I hope that this entertained you somewhat, and perhaps reminded you of where we have been in the last year.

At the very least, I think they're pretty funny.

NEXT: Sweeps Month Continues!

Monday, November 7

Link Party - Tired & Lazy Edition.

Here are some links to tide you over while I put the finishing touches on the Boycott Unity Retrospective. I was at a get-together on Saturday and the Packer game on Sunday, so I fell behind a bit. Enjoy your Monday, and let us know how you're spending it in the comments section.

1. Man gets rear-end glued to toilet seat at Home Depot. Man sues for pain and suffering; hopes it will stick. Glued and Sued

2. Gorillas star in new reality show. Melons and tick-bath to the victor. Gorilla Reality Show

3. Candidate promises cows to public if elected. Chickens unavailable for comment. Sri Lanka Cows If Elected

4. High School basketball team loses 112-2. Losing coach demoted to teaching shop full time. 112-2 Basketball Game

5. Graffiti artists should have their thumbs cut off, says communist who doesn't appreciate tag art. Cut Off Their Thumbs

6. Glue Story #2 - Jilted lover glues man shut. Punch line not available. Glue Story #2 - Genitals

7. Meet Canada's richest cat. Owes wealth to high-yield Kibble investment accounts, and a dead owner. Canada's Richest Cat

8. Pirates? PIRATES!!! Kenya Pirate Attack

Sunday, November 6

Wayback Machine - Angry Left Wing Edition.

About one year ago to the day, I launched an angry political page in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential Elections. Eventually, this angry political page became a not-so-angry political cartoon page. Thanks to the CDP Wayback Machine, you can go and check out the post that brought Boycott Unity into the Blogosphere.

"Post #100." - Friday, November 5 - 2004

Check it out, and get ready for the Boycott Unity Retrospective. It's coming up next.